Author: Catie Hall

Are you ready for the new NH MS4 Stormwater Permit?

Pond with lily pads

EPA Region 1 issued the revised New Hampshire Small MS4 General Permit on January 18, 2017. Affecting 60 New Hampshire communities, this new permit will make a significant change in stormwater management compliance when it takes effect on July 1, 2018.

This new permit imposes more stringent regulations for communities’ compliance in regards to how to manage stormwater.

Many community leaders have expressed concerns that the overlap with other regulatory requirements and the cost of meeting those requirements may not effectively achieve the desired results, and they are looking for integrated cost-effective approaches to meeting the new regulatory requirements.

Governor Chris Sununu has publicly spoken against the new MS4 permits, saying that they would severely impact municipalities and taxpayers, noting that “additional mandates contained within the new MS4 permit will prove themselves overly burdensome and enormously expensive for many of New Hampshire’s communities.”

If you live in community in Southern New Hampshire, chances are that this change affects you in some way. To see a list of affected communities, please visit the EPA website.

Hoyle, Tanner has experienced staff who are knowledgeable about asset management, SRF loan pre-application preparation, and MS4 permitting.

John Jackman, PE, asset management specialist

 

John Jackman, PE, is Hoyle, Tanner’s premier Asset Management Specialist. Although the CWSRF money cannot be directly used to support the MS4 program, using the asset management program to support documentation of municipal assets will be helpful in setting up a strategy for compliance related to the October 1, 2018 required filing date of the MS4 permit’s Notice of Intent.

 

Michael Trainque, PE, stormwater specialist

 

Michael Trainque, PE, has 39 years of environmental engineering experience.  Michael has been integrally involved in developing model stormwater regulations, identification, assessment and dry-weather sampling and testing of stormwater outfalls, as well as other aspects of stormwater management.

 

marshall

Heidi Marshall, PE has been assisting industries and municipalities with NPDES compliance since the 1990s when EPA published the initial stormwater requirements and can assist you with preparation of the Notice of Intent, developing or updating the Stormwater Management Plan, and can provide assistance with the required follow-up actions.

 

Hoyle, Tanner is equipped to help communities that are affected by MS4 regulation changes. We are immediately available to help with pre-application funding, notice of intent preparation for October, and setting up action plans to comply with MS4 requirements.

Let Hoyle, Tanner guide your community into a future with cleaner water. Contact John Jackman, PE for asset management application assistance, or for MS4 assistance, contact Michael Trainque, PE or Heidi Marshall, PE.

Drones: Enhancing Safety & Expanding the Aviation Community

Flying Drone

Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS), or as they are more commonly known as, drones, are changing inspection and construction methods and expanding the aviation community. Drones are the fastest growing segment of aviation. Currently, they are being used by public safety officials, realtors, farmers, engineers and of course by aviation hobbyists across the country. Depending on your perspective, drones are an emerging aerial solution or an impending aerial disaster just waiting to happen.

A major concern of the FAA regulators are the hazards of drones and manned aircraft in the same airspace. On December 12, 2017, Barrie Barber from Cox Newspapers published “FAA: Drones more deadly than birds.” In the article, Barber writes the “FAA has guidelines for building aircraft to withstand bird strikes of a certain weight, but tougher requirements do not exist specifically for drone collisions.” While it might seem obvious that a drone could do some damage, the impact damage of a bird and drone of similar weight are significantly different.

“The research found heavier, stiffer components, such as a drone motor, battery or a camera, could cause more structural damage to an aircraft than birds of the same weight and size,” said Kiran D’Souza, an Ohio State University assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

While pilots have reported many drone sightings to the FAA, the FAA reports only one incident in the United States of a drone striking a Military Black Hawk helicopter in October 2017. In fact, the Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST) Drone Sightings Working Group released a new report on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) 3,714 drone sightings reports collected by flight crews, air traffic controllers and citizens from November 2015 to March 2017. The report found that only a small percentage of drone reports pose a safety risk, while the vast majority are simply sightings.

Despite growing pains employing drones, many industries and public agencies are adding them as tools and developing workflows to effectively employ them. Stamford Connecticut police Sgt. Andrew Gallagher did an interview for the Fairfield Citizen and explained how his police department has used drones to document and analyze accident scenes, conduct searches and track suspects. Fire Departments are now using drones with infrared cameras to quickly view fire scenes from different angles to best direct the crew response.

“I have stood on more fire trucks than most firemen looking for an overhead shot. We are always looking for something to stand on,” Gallagher says in the article. Drones provide different aerial shots that can give intelligence about where a person or accident could be – in real time, without putting lives in danger.

In addition to first responder use and Amazon’s idea to deliver packages via the airways, drones have provided opportunities in the professional planning and engineering field.

Evan McDougal, Airport Planning Manager with Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, Inc., is an FAA-certified manned aircraft pilot as well as an FAA Section 107 Remote Pilot. McDougal says that drones are an inexpensive data collection solution when airports have tree obstructions that have grown into the runway approach surfaces. These obstructions can limit the ability of pilots to use instrument approaches at night and in some cases the obstructions cause the FAA to increase the cloud ceiling or visibility requirements or limit how low a pilot can descend on approach to a runway. Many runway ends in Maine are not available at night due to known tree obstructions.

McDougal believes drones could be part of the solution.

Drones can quickly capture highly accurate aerial imagery that can be analyzed using photogrammetry software to identify the boundaries of tree canopy penetrating the imaginary (but very real) instrument or visual approach surface. An example of the typical results can be seen in this effort. https://www.dropbox.com/s/iw4vabrcszm5w1s/B21_17%20End%20P4D%20Ani.mp4?dl=0

How it works: while following an autonomous flight plan the drone takes hundreds of georeferenced high definition photos. Photogrammetry software accurately stitches these photos together by matching thousands of key points within adjacent photos. This creates a full orthomosaic of the entire surveyed area and produces a very accurate three-dimensional model or point cloud that can be measured and examined thereby allowing engineers and airport owners to see exactly where runway obstructions exist.

This is but one use for a drone at airports. The technology is evolving very quickly and is limited only by our imagination.

NEC/AAAE Panelist Evan McDougal: Opportunities and Regulatory Challenges with UAS Operations Within 5 Miles of your Airport

Man holding drone in a field

At the Annual Airports Conference in Pennsylvania, Evan McDougal, CM was a panellist and discussed the challenges and opportunities that sUAS technology creates for airport management. The continuing education session entitled “UAS Operations Within 5 Miles of your Airport. Restrict, Support, & Permit” explored the use of the rapidly evolving sUAS technology from the legal, airport management, commercial operator and regulatory perspective.

Evan is the Manager of Hoyle, Tanner’s Airport Planning and sUAS services. In 2016, Mr. McDougal acquired his Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate, complimenting his existing manned fixed wing and rotary pilot certifications. Hoyle, Tanner has four certified sUAS operators and provides these services in many locations.

During the panel discussion, Evan focused on how commercial operators can use unmanned aerial systems to efficiently collect data and verify approach surfaces, document pre- and post-construction site development and assist with accident documentation. He also discussed the challenges associated with the current authorization process for operating an sUAS in controlled and restricted airspace.

The goal of the conference is to educate attendees on the leadership skills necessary to “plan, develop and execute a safe and efficient regional airport system that satisfies the needs of its constituents with due consideration for economics, environmental compatibility, local property rights, and safeguarding the public investment.”

 

 

Airports Conference event website banner

What Droughts can Teach us about the Importance of Proper Culverts

hillsboroughnh-stonearch

July 2016 struck New England with an extreme drought and dry weather patterns for an entire year in most of the region. Many people are seeing the drought disappear as heavy rainfall replenishes those dry wells. Showers are taken a little less guiltily.

Yet ironically, the seacoast areas of Maine and (some) of New Hampshire are still considered abnormally dry for this time of year. The drought.gov website says that the percent of dry conditions for the Northeast is a total of less than 10 percent. In general, around 90 percent have no dry conditions at all. Despite this time of year being dryer for the coast, long-term totals actually appear normal.

So, why the pesky persistence with this abnormally dry issue?

“Much of the Northeast remains drought free with the exception of coastal Maine, which has been plagued by below-normal precipitation over the summer,” Deborah Bathke reported in the National Drought Summary for August 8, 2017.

Lack of rainfall may seem relatively insignificant in the engineering world to some. Too much rainfall can cause road erosion, mud slides, sewage overflows, and building floods (among other glorious things). Too little rain? Aside from a crispy lawn, what could go wrong?

Well, for starters, a dry season can mean that ground water levels are low. Low water levels mean that engineered structures, like culverts, don’t work like they are supposed to. Which can lead to problems for an entire ecosystem.

Culverts are a great example. Culverts allow for water passage — such as streams, creeks and brooks — to move under roads. Many aquatic species migrate during their lifetimes, so in order to do that, they need to be able to swim or wade through water freely. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains that incorrectly engineered or installed dams and culverts can contribute to declining fish populations by not allowing continuous water flow and creating a physical barrier to fish passage. Throughout the watershed, there can be several examples of perched road crossing culverts (where a drop in elevation exists between the end of the culvert and the water body) and culverts that are too narrow, steep or collapsed.

As rain levels increase and droughts are ending, aquatic life has the chance to move more freely through these constricted passageways.

The importance of culverts can be partly attributed to the way the water flows.

culverts

 

The New England states have turned their attention to the importance of designing culverts that are eco-friendly for the past two decades, with regulations in place in each of the five states that require certain levels of flows, both high and low, to be maintained through culverts in order to protect migrating organisms. From an article by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of Alaska comes the challenge to make roads more fish-friendly:

“What’s under our roads should ideally mimic what’s upstream and downstream,” the article says. “This helps ensure a seamless transition for fish passing underneath. … So how wide is wide enough? To answer that, we must understand the stream’s range of flows. A stream gauge that tracks water level and documents flood events over time can help.”

When accurate stream gauge data is not available, particularly for the smaller creeks or brooks, engineers must examine the existing conditions and develop assumptions on flows, typically using hydrologic models that are standard industry practice.

In short, as you drive from place to place during your day, take time to notice the road culverts you pass over. They have an important role in keeping an ecosystem functioning at its best, even under drought conditions.

Volunteering to Make a Difference

NH Food Bank Mac Off

Reaching, stepping, buildingblog-stats-graphic-volunteering

We’re proud that members of our team are reaching out, stepping in, and building up the community. Over the past year, Hoyle, Tanner employees — both on their own and representing the company — have volunteered or donated to more than 15 causes. Since August, we’ve had at least 22 of our employees donate time, energy, and resources to causes like the New Hampshire Food Bank, the Elliot Regional Cancer Center, the City of Manchester, and the Granite United Way. We don’t just want to work and live in our community; we want to make it the best it can be.

Uplifting spirits with food security

The New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities New Hampshire, exists as the only food bank in New Hampshire. The Food Bank gives millions of pounds of food to more than 400 food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and other partner agencies throughout the state every year. Because of the Food Bank’s efforts, hundreds of thousands of food-insecure residents have access to meals.

Running toward better health – for others

We had our largest group of 14 runners and walkers come out for this year’s Cigna/Elliot Corporate 5K Road Race on Thursday, August 10th. The race supports the Elliot Regional Cancer Center, and with over 6,000 registrants, it is the largest road race in New Hampshire. The Elliot Hospital was the first in New Hampshire to establish a cancer center in 1966. The center is home to surgical, medical and radiation oncologists with state-of-the-art technology to help patients fight cancer.

Living & giving united

After an environmental engineer at Hoyle, Tanner worked on water and sanitation improvements in Haiti five years ago, we continue to look for ways to donate to the community. This year, the goal is to donate money so that the poorest children in Leon (in the Grand’Anse Department in Western Haiti) get to attend school.

Changing through empathy

We know that sometimes… it takes a village. It takes great people coming together to see that others are struggling and offer to help. We’re proud that the Hoyle, Tanner family has so many caring souls — who dedicate part of their paycheck, time, a good ounce of energy — all to help out those in need.

Right-of-Way Acquisition in 7 Steps

Simple steps of Right of Way permitting

Right-of-Way acquisitions in civil engineering encompass a lot of detail. According to Betsy Bosiak, land acquisition specialist at Hoyle, Tanner, it can take a little under five years to learn everything there is to know about Right-of-Way.

Betsy recently hosted a Lunch & Learn session at Hoyle, Tanner to answer questions about the acquisition process. For those who may not know what Right-of-Way is, it’s the act of acquiring land or easements to complete a project. It could be anything from a homeowner’s land that needs drainage services near a road to getting new land to build a medical office. As she stated in her presentation, each state has to follow certain federal guidelines, but the individual states do have specific criteria for Right-of-Way processes. In fact, if you take a stroll into Betsy’s office, her bookshelf is home to two thick Right-of-Way booklets: one for Maine and one for New Hampshire, available to anyone in the office who has questions.

Betsy’s presentation was about the acquisition process in New Hampshire (one she tried not to get into too much detail about because of its sheer power to overwhelm).

In 7 steps, here’s a breakdown of what we learned:

Before Final Design:

  1. Know the basics. First and foremost, Right-of-Way acquisition is considered a part of the final design process, depending on the size of the project. Yet it’s also important to realize that many items occur concurrent with plan development. The types of Right-of-Way are Prescriptive, Easement, and Fee. Prescriptive is determined by usage, but there is no layout. Easement acquisition is when the property owner gives easements to allow the use of land. Today, however, the most popular acquisition is fee-based; land is purchased for the project to be completed.Types of Right of Way Acquisition
  2. Determine what’s already there. It’s vital to determine the existing Right-of-Way by checking existing plans, historic documents, property surveys, deeds, and existing ground conditions.
  3. Make a plan & be specific. To actually acquire land for project use, there needs to be a project scope, preliminary design, final design, and recording all plans.
  4. Determine the type of acquisition: Fee Taking (buying the land), Temporary Easement (using it for the time of construction), or Permanent Easement (the land is yours forever, but the State or Municipality has easement rights).
  5. Explain the impacts. You actually need to explain to the landowner the intended impacts to the property. Public meetings, meetings with officials, and meetings with landowners are a critical part of the process. As Betsy suggests, keep records of what everyone says so that there’s no confusion later in the process.

During Final Design:

  1. Determine appraisals. Even after the landowner meetings, the land is still nAppraisal types for Right of Way acquisitionot ready to be built upon. In fact, the next step in the detailed acquisition process is Land Value Appraisals. Once that’s complete, a written offer is made to the landowner. If the landowner agrees to the compensation, the designers can move forward with the appropriate documents and acquire the land. The project can be completed! If not, well, it’s back to the negotiation table.
  2. Acquire the needed property rights. The property owner has agreed to the written compensation. It’s time to prepare the deed or easement document, and with a witness or notary, sign the document. Save all written records and notes and make copies of each. The land is officially available for project construction.

The Right-of-Way acquisition process is no simple matter (though it was explained in layman’s terms here). It can take anywhere from 1-2 years from preliminary to final design before land is acquired for the project. By then, project designs and abstracts can change multiple times. Betsy recommends documenting files for each landowner and making multiple copies of these documents for reference.

Have Right-of-Way questions? Talk to the specialist: Besty Bosiak, ebosiak@hoyletanner.com

Employee Spotlight: Nicole Crawford

nicole
Nicole Crawford, Airport Engineer and HGTV-Enthusiast
  1. What has drawn you to and kept you at Hoyle, Tanner?
    • I was working at a smaller firm before. I wanted to try a larger firm, and I also wanted to do more transportation. So what drew me here was the size, the type of projects, and the team. In a smaller firm, you do much different work. Why I stay here? Probably because I like the team. I wasn’t doing airport engineering before this, but I find airports very interesting.
  2. What’s the most invaluable thing you’ve learned here?
    • Oh gosh, I’ve learned a lot. Working in this position, I get to do both the design work and see the construction phase of the project. I think that’s the most important thing — that I get to see both sides of it.
  3. What’s your favorite time of year to work at Hoyle, Tanner?
    • Definitely the summer [laughs]. I like the summer. There’s lots of construction projects, which means it’s a little more hectic and there’s a chance to be on site.
  4. If you were a character in a book/movie/tv show, who would you be?
    • Off the top of my head? I guess I would have to say Jason Bourne, because how could you not want to be like him? How could you not want to have a mind like that? But on the other side of that, probably also the main character from Along Came Polly. She’s so laid back and so accepting.
  5. What’s one of your bucket list items?
    • I deliberately do not have a bucket list. Because then I feel like you’re doing something just to do it. I don’t want that to be my focus.
  6. Words you live by? Favorite quote?
    • I like a lot of them. I’d have to look them up, but I think any positive message out there, I like.
  7. If you were to skydive from an airplane, what would you think about on the way down?
    • I would be terrified. I would not be able to think about anything.
  8. Favorite food?
    • Anything that’s really super fresh — like a fresh tomato mozzarella salad.
  9. If you were to enter a talent contest and you could do anything, what would your talent be?
    • I would probably love to sing. I cannot at all, so that’d be awesome.
  10. When you’re not working, what could people most likely find you doing?
    • Well, for actual hobbies, we like hiking — my husband, dog, and I. What we’re actually doing though is working on the house and playing with the puppy. I love house projects. Or we’re doing what the puppy wants to do.

Employee Spotlight: Amy Johnson

Amy-Johnson
Amy Johnson, Civil Engineer and Devoted Athlete
  1. What has drawn you to and kept you at Hoyle, Tanner?
    • Well, I was first drawn to Hoyle, Tanner because I worked with Carl Quiram in Goffstown for my first internship. Then I knew I wanted to try the private sector. So I reached out to him when I saw that he moved to Hoyle, Tanner and he was kind enough to get me an interview for a second internship. I started as an intern last May at Hoyle, Tanner and was offered a position as a Junior Engineer in March. [What’s kept me here is] I really like that I can see projects all the way through, from the proposal stage to the construction phase. I really like being involved.
  2. What’s something invaluable that you’ve learned here?
    • Probably asking for help because I will put my head down and try to figure out the calculations, but I’m new and I’m still learning. The people I work with have made me feel comfortable enough that I don’t feel bashful asking questions.
  3. Favorite thing to see in the office?
    • I like to see people having fun – not just talking about work but what they did over the weekend and stuff. It makes the work environment more fun.
  4. If you were a character in a book or a movie, who would you be?
    • So, it’s not a specific person or a movie, but I would want to be on the show Survivor. I think I’d be good in the social aspect of the game. I’d lay low until the merge. Then I would show my physical strength off and win a lot of individual immunities. I’ve played sports my whole life. I played lacrosse at UNH, and I’ve played basketball and volleyball, so I think I’d do well.
  5. Favorite food?
    • Lobster.
  6. If you could be anyone for a day, who would you be?
    • I think I would want to be the president because who wouldn’t want to be the president? I wouldn’t want to make any decisions but I would try to benefit from the perks, like take a ride on a helicopter or boat. Whatever they get to do.
  7. If people saw you from a distance, they probably wouldn’t guess…
    • That I’m an engineer. I went to Starbucks this morning and [the barista] was making small talk, asking me what I did for work. When I said I was a civil engineer, she just kind of smiled and didn’t know what else to say.
  8. Do you have a favorite quote? Words to live by?
    • There was a quote on my teabag the other day that I really liked. Hold on one second. [Pause] I put it on my Instagram so I had to get it. It was, “Say it straight, simple, and with a smile.”
  9. If you were to skydive from an airplane, what would you think about on the way down?
    • How I’m going to celebrate when I land. I wouldn’t be surprised if I were to skydive. I just haven’t done it yet, but I enjoy celebrating the little things.
  10. When you’re not working, what could people most likely find you doing?
    • Probably playing sports. I do kickball on Thursdays and I’m on two volleyball teams.

Employee Spotlight: Fran Weaver

Fran
Fran Weaver, Grant Administrator at work & Avid Recycler/Earth Enthusiast in free time
  1. What has drawn you to and kept you at Hoyle, Tanner?
    • Well the real reason I came here is because someone I used to work for, Bill E., called me and said, “Are you looking for a job?” So I came into the interview and it was odd. It was December 1997, and the company was just moving into this space [the mill building]. There were moving boxes everywhere. It was strange. The other interesting thing that happened is that Bill worked in this building for a place called Pandora. I’d worked for Bill in this same building! It was like coming home [laughs]. The people have obviously kept me here. They’re wonderful. [Chuckles] It’s been a thrilling ride!
  2. What’s your favorite thing to see in the office?
    • My favorite thing to see is… happy people. Happy people coming into the office, getting their coffee, settling in for the day. Yeah, happy people.
  3. My favorite time of year to work at Hoyle, Tanner is _____ because…
    • Is there a least favorite? [Laughs] No, I won’t say least favorite. I guess my busiest time and hardest time, and therefore least favorite is April. Because that’s when we’re pushing to get all our grants done for our clients. And then May 1 is when all the grants are due and it’s a collective sigh of relief. I usually take a couple of days off after to recuperate.
  4. What is one thing you feel you have to do before the end of your life? Bucket list item?
    • I’m getting awfully close to that you know! [Laughs] Move to Maine. It’s where most of our clients live, though that’s not the reason I’d move there. I’ve always been drawn to it. The seacoast.
  5. Do you have a favorite quote? Something you live by?
    • “Do unto others.” That’s it.
  6. If you were to skydive, what would you think about most on your way down?
    • “How long is it till I crash?” [Laughs] I’m not a roller coaster person. I know I’d be closing my eyes, saying “Is it over yet? Is it over yet?” A plane is a different story. [We] flew to Augusta, Maine and that was awesome.
  7. If you were to enter a talent contest and you could do anything, what would be your talent?
    • Can I cook? I would cook. I’d make a special meal for the judges.
  8. Favorite food?
    • Seafood—lobster specifically.
  9. My heart melts at the sight of______:
    • [Without hesitation] Puppies.
  10. When you’re not working, what could people most likely find you doing?
    • Volunteering. I volunteer for different organizations. I do walkathons for the animal shelter, and I volunteer for New Horizons Soup Kitchen and Shelter. Through New Horizons I do 5k races. If you volunteer to help at the races, donations go to New Horizons and other organizations. My two favorites are the Friends of Manchester Animal Shelter and New Horizons.

Employee Spotlight: Jeff DeGraff

Jeff

Jeff DeGraff, Bridge Engineer and Outdoor Enthusiast

  1. What has drawn you to and kept you at Hoyle, Tanner?
    • There are few structural engineering jobs in Vermont. It’s also one of the better firms in Vermont, as well. What’s keeping me here is the ability to pursue water resource engineering, which is what my master’s degree is in. And I just love the Vermont office in general, it has a good atmosphere. I also have a great view. We’re on the fourth floor, so I can see Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks.
  2. What is something invaluable you’ve learned here?
    • To never stop learning. That’s pretty much it.
  3. My favorite time of year to work at Hoyle, Tanner is _____ because…
    • The summer time because you’re able to go outside more often to visit the sites. And Burlington is pretty awesome in the summer time.
  4. If you were a character in a book, tv show or movie, who would you be?
    • Batman [laughs]. That’s not even a question. Definitely the movie one, the Christian Bale one.
  5. What’s one of your bucket list items before you die?
    • Camp, fish, and hunt in Alaska. I would go in the summer time. That’s when you can go fly fishing and stuff. It’s just one of the last untouched landscapes in the United States for the most part.
  6. What is your favorite quote?
    • “Live your life like you’re going to die tomorrow.” I don’t know who said it, but I heard it once and I just thought, wow that was really good.
  7. If people saw you from a distance, they might not suspect…
    • That I’m actually an engineer. Uh cause I may be serious at work but I’m not serious outside of work. [Laughs]
  8. If you were to skydive from an airplane, what would you think about most on your way down?
    • How fast am I falling right now? I’m not afraid of heights, but I just want to know how fast I’d be falling. That’s the engineering side of me.
  9. Favorite food?
    • Italian food in general. I’m not sure I’m Italian.
  10. When you’re not working, what could people most likely find you doing?
    • Yard work. [Laughs] It’s because it’s a necessity. Honestly, just being outdoors in general. Hiking, fishing, mostly those two things. Even in the winter, I go snowboarding. It doesn’t matter, just outdoor activities.